Friday, February 01, 2019

I Accuse-Unmasking The Sherlock Holmes Legend, Part II-Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce’s “The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes” (1939)-A Film Review

I Accuse-Unmasking The Sherlock Holmes Legend, Part II-Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce’s “The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes” (1939)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Danny Moriarty

(Once again as I did in my initial offering on the bogus Sherlock Holmes legend Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, hah!, in the interest of transparency which has become more of an issue these days when every medium is under scrutiny Danny Moriarty is not my real name. As then and will be discussed again below in my research about the “fake news” legend of Mr. Holmes I have run into a notorious cult-like band of desperadoes known as “The Baker Street Irregulars,” why that name I do not know. This clot of criminals, who I am told have very stylized rituals involving illegal drugs and human blood, and are the bane of the London Bobbies, have been connected with the disappearance of many people who questioned the Sherlock myth, and not a few unsolved murders of people who have washed up on the Thames over the years.

This need for an alias, for cover, is no joke since that first review I have been threatened, threatened with I won’t death, death threats, but some nasty actions which necessitate my keeping very close tabs on my security apparatus as I attempt to deflate this miserable excuse for a detective, a parlor detective at that. I will not be stopped by hoodlums and blood-splattered junkies.)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone (if that is his real name which is doubtful although unlike myself he has never been transparent enough to say that he is using an alias), Nigel Bruce (a name which has been confirmed as a British National active in the 1930s and 1940s), 1939 

We live in an age of debunking. An age perhaps borne aloft by cynicism, hubris, sarcasm and above all “fake news,” not the fake news denying some reality that you hear so much about these days, but by the elaborate strategy of public relations cranks and flacks who will put out any swill as long as they are paid and not a minute longer. That hardly started today but has a long pedigree, a pedigree which has included the target of today’s debunking one James Sherlock Holmes out of London, out of the Baker Street section of that town. From the cutesy “elementary my dear Watson” to that condescending attitude toward everybody he encounters, friend or foe, including the hapless Doctor Watson this guy Holmes is nothing but a pure creation of the public relations industrial complex. As I have noted above I have paid the price for exposing this chameleon, this so-called master detective, this dead end junkie, with a barrage of hate mail and threats from his insidious devotees.

Maybe I better refresh for those who may not have read the first review, may be shocked to find their paragon of a private detective has feet of clay, and an addiction problem no twelve step program could curtail in a million years. Here are some excerpts of what I said in that review which I stand by this day no matter the consequences:      

“Today is the day. Today is the day I have been waiting for since I was a kid. Today we tear off the veneer, tear off the mask of the reputation of one Sherlock Holmes as a master detective. Funny how things happen. Greg Green assigned me this film out of the blue, at random he said when I asked him. However this assignment after viewing this film, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (of course he doesn’t face, hadn’t been anywhere near any danger that would put death in his way but that can wait until I finish out defanging the legend) set off many bells, many memories of my childhood when I first instinctively discovered this guy was a fraud, a con artist.

Back then my grandparents and parents hushed me up about the matter when I told them what I thought of the mighty Sherlock. They went nutty and told me never to speak of it again when I mentioned that a hard-boiled real private detective, a guy who did this kind of work for a living, a guy named Sam Spade who worked out in San Francisco and solved, really solved, the case of the missing black bird which people in the profession still talk about, which is still taught in those correspondence course private detection in ten easy lesson things you used to see advertised on matchbook covers when smoking cigarettes was okay, who could run circles around a parlor so-called detective like Mr. Holmes. 

[Even Sam Spade has come in for some debunking of late right here in this space as Phil Larkin and Kenny Jacobs have gone round and round about how little Spade deserved his “rep,” his classic rep for a guy who was picked by some bimbo out of the phone book and who couldn’t even keep his partner alive against that same femme he was skirt-addled over. Kept digging that low-shelf whiskey bottle in the bottom desk drawer out too much when the deal went down. The only guy who is safe is Phillip Marlowe since nobody can call him a “one solved murder wonder” after the string of cold as ice, maybe colder, cases he wrapped up with a bow over the years. They still talk about the Sherwood case out on the Coast even today, talk in hushed tones too. You notice nobody has tried to go after him, not even close. D.M.]            

That was then. Now after some serious research as a result of this film’s impact on my memory I have proof to back up my childhood smothered assertions. Sherlock Holmes (if that is his name which is doubtful since I went to the London telephone directories going back the first ones in the late 1800s and found no such name on Baker Street-ever) was nothing but a stone-cold junkie, cocaine, morphine, lanadum and other exotic concoctions which is the reason that he had a doctor at his side at all times in case he needed “scripts” written up. A doctor who a guy like Sam Spade would have sat on his ass a long time before as so dead weight.

That junkie business would not amount to much if it did not mean that high and mighty Sherlock didn’t have to run his own gang of pimps, hookers, con men, fellow junkies, drag queens, rough trade sailors and the flotsam and jetsam of London, high society and low, to keep him in dough for that nasty set of habits that kept him high as a kite. There are sworn statements (suppressed at the time) by the few felons whom the Bobbies were able to pick up that Sherlock was the guy behind half the burglaries, heists and kidnappings in London. And you wonder why the Baker Street Irregulars want to silence me, show me the silence of the grave….

Of course the Bobbies, looking to wrap up a few cold file cases which Sherlock handed them to keep them off the trail, looked the other way and/or took the graft so who really knows how extensive the whole operation was. In a great sleight of hand he gave them Doctor Moriarty who as it turned out dear Sherlock had framed when one wave of police heat was on and who only got out of prison after Holmes died and one of Holmes’ flunkies told the real story about how Holmes needed a “fall guy” and the wily Doctor took the fall.”             

This The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes cover-up is a classic example of police collision to cover their own dirty tracks. Everybody knows that Sherlock made his name after he beat down some poor mistreated dog who should have been reported as abused to whatever they call the humane animal treatment society in merry old England.

You don’t have to be one of those correspondence course private detection in ten easy lessons that you used to see on matchbook covers when cigarette smoking was okay like I said before to know that these high society cases are inside
jobs. Naturally the luckless and clueless Holmes has his fall guy all set up. A guy like I mentioned before named Professor Moriarty (no relative since if you remember this is my alias) who is a salt of the earth type but whom Holmes has a deep hatred for ever since the good doctor stopped feeding him his drugs, told him to go cold turkey. That good advice and good cheer despite the obvious fact that no twelve step program was going to do anything but drive Holmes to who knows what paranoid delusions. All the good professor did was to clue in a guy whose father had been bamboozled by this high society young woman’s father. Had been murdered by the dame’s old man.

The dispute had been over dough money which the guy should have gotten as inheritance but didn’t and wound up on skid road. While this young heiress and her ne’er do well a con artist and card shark from the word around town brother lived high off the hog. The stuff you heard about the good professor trying to take the Crown jewels is nothing but fake news. They were never in danger of being stolen but our man Sherlock raised a big hue and cry after smoking too much hashish and thought he saw them floating over the Thames. Called copper for them to nab favorite fall guy the hapless professor. You never hear about this of course since the coppers kept it hush-hush but that was the night in a drug frenzy Sherlock tried to murder the good professor. Kill him dead. RIP, Professor, RIP. Didn’t happen but the good professor got the slammer anyway and it was only Sherlock’s overdose death that sprung him after “Five Fingers” Benny Boren gave the real story.   

Like I said last time, a fake, fake all the way. Unless that Irregular crowd of thugs and blood-stained aficionados get to me this is not the last you will hear about this campaign of mine to dethrone this pompous junked-up imposter. I am just getting into second gear now.      

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